5G Evolution in Asia Pacific

The Asia Pacific region represents one of the fastest growing region globally, with more than 1.8 billion unique subscribers and nearly 3.8 billion connections (including M2M) as of the first half of 2015. It dominates the global mobile industry easily accounting for half of the world’s unique subscribers and connections. As growth continues at a faster clip than elsewhere, we expect this dominance to continue for the foreseeable future, adding 700 million new subscribers by 2020. People use smartphones for so much more than just communication, which puts pressure on carriers to provide download and upload speeds to match consumer demand for instant gratification. The global average for 4G-download speed is now 13.5 Mbps. After several years of 4G rollouts,  LTE is beginning to reach maturity in several markets, notably in South Korea, Japan and SIngapore. In countries with the most extensive 4G footprints, LTE coverage is nearly on par with 3G coverage, and in South Korea and Japan, 4G availability has actually exceeded 3G.

In his recent talk at IEEE International Conference on Communications (May 2016), co-founder Dr. TK Tan added that the convergence of 802.11, 5G, IoT, Big Data and cloud computing is happening sooner than anticipated. However, he noted that the big elephant is still missing in the 4 day discussions. The lack of vertical participants, i.e. from industries likely to be impacted by these technologies such as Industrials, healthcare, automotive etc.. were noticeably obvious. In order to bring about a coherent strategy, we as an industry must not repeat the same mistakes of the past, which is fundamentally creating technologies and standards that are looking for a problem to solve. This goes back to the “ready, fire, aim” syndrome which haunted early developers of new technologies. Most often, this approach misses the mark and under-delivers or requires additional investment to realize the returns. We espouse the benefits of innovation and comfort ourselves by proclaiming the innovative processes we follow, however, how many product development projects failed as a result of not identifying the unmet needs? Way too many!

Check back later for more on this “irrational technology exuberance” (ITE) that we are facing today.

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